The Rangers announced a host of minor-league deals this afternoon. Catcher/outfielder Blake Swihart, southpaw Brian Flynn, and righties Tim Dillard and Arturo Reyes all received spring invites. Reliever Matt Bush inked a two-year minors deal that doesn’t promise participation in MLB camp.
Swihart, 27, has just not managed to turn the corner at the game’s highest level. But he remains an intriguing talent and could be an interesting potential final bench piece if he shows well in camp. The former top-100 prospect owns a .243/.301/.355 batting line in 696 career plate appearances at the game’s highest level.
It seems harder to imagine Flynn cracking the Rangers’ relief unit after another tough season. Through 187 2/3 frames in the big leagues, he carries a 4.41 ERA with 6.4 K/9, 4.4 BB/9, and a 42.4% groundball rate. The 29-year-old showed somewhat reduced velocity last year as well. But he has been able to keep the ball in the yard, which is something that couldn’t be said of quite a few fully established major leaguers in 2019.
Dillard, a former MLBTR contributor, will continue to function as a Triple-A pitching sage and bringer of merriment after a surprising return to the rotation in 2019. No small part of his role will be to help bring along players such as Reyes, a 27-year-old former Cardinals and Rays farmhand who has yet to crack the majors. Reyes owns a 4.96 ERA with 7.1 K/9 and 3.5 BB/9 in 330 career innings at Triple-A.
As for Bush, he’s going to miss a large portion of the coming season after undergoing Tommy John surgery in July. The Rangers obviously still see reason to hope that the 34-year-old can return to the form he showed in 2016-17, when he pitched to a 3.08 ERA over 114 innings.